My Piano Biography for the Los Angeles Moments of Music Piano Competition for Amateurs and Teachers
I had almost forgotten about the piano until one day, while settling into our home in Modesto, my plastic-surgeon-wife announced that she was going to buy herself a piano. She figured since I was a violin playing general surgeon, she needed her own instrument. Due to space constraints, we had to decide between dining table or piano. Well, I figured worse case scenario, a grand piano could double up as a very expensive dining table. Embarrassingly, as a small child, I had been fired from piano lessons (totally my fault) before I could even reach an octave with my fingers. Fortunately, leaving the piano gave me an opportunity with the violin which led to a highlight of my life: performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Brown University Orchestra. And that led to somehow impressing a girl who later became my wife. Funny how getting fired could lead to wonderful things; I even think that the violin helped me get accepted to all the great colleges I applied to which included Harvard, Stanford, and of course my Brown University.
Being clueless as to how to pick out a piano, we were introduced to a Modesto piano teacher, Dr. Yan Yan Chan, who helped us. However, being from New York and being an only child, I ended up hogging the piano we purchased; my poor wife barely gets time to play. On the piano, I found that one of the hardest things was bass clef and the way that the fingering markings for piano and violin are off by one digit (pinky = “4” for violin). I took a few lessons from Yan Yan to help me get started and also had pointers from a close family friend Dr. Kung-Chin Lin, an university piano professor in Taiwan. Then I was pretty much on my own due to my somewhat unpredictable schedule as a surgeon. Yan Yan and I got reunited recently when we heard about the Los Angeles Moments of Music Piano Concerto Competition through another genius piano teacher in our area, Janisse Foresti. I have since acquired a separate dining table but I still have trouble playing octaves.
Short Modesto Symphony Biography for Calvin Lee, MD
Calvin Lee was born in New York City, and went to school in the suburbs. He graduated top of his class in high school and was accepted to all the universities he applied to including Harvard, Stanford, and Brown Universities. He chose to go to Brown and there he met his wife, Dr. Tammy Wu – Plastic Surgeon. We continued on to medical school at Brown University where Dr. Tammy Wu graded top of her Ivy League medical school class. Turning down job offers in San Diego and Los Angeles, Dr. Calvin Lee found a wonderful career in Trauma/General surgery in Modesto, California instead. We decided to call Modesto our home and eventually established Surgical Artistry in 2006. Dr. Lee is also an acupuncturist. Now, he spends 40% of his clinical time with acupuncture, and 50% of his time with cosmetic injections of Botox, Dermal-Fillers, Veins, and Kybella. The rest of the time is reserved for assisting in Cosmetic Surgeries and pain related spinal surgical implants. He and his wife are founders of the Gallo Center for the Arts, founding title sponsors for the Surgical Artistry Modesto Symphony Pops Series (2007-2009) / Surgical Artistry Modesto Symphony Fat Cat Classics (2006-2007), and founding title sponsors for the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon (2010-current).
Musically, Dr. Lee started violin at age 7. He studied violin with Mary Canberg till he went to college. He attended music theory classes at the Manhattan School of Music. He studied violin with Charles Sherba while at Brown University. He won the concerto competition at Brown University twice and was the concert master . He finds it interesting and quite an honor to be listed as one of the 7 notable students listed on the webpage of his Brown University Orchestral Conductor, Paul Phillips. In 2009 he won a spot in the YouTube Symphony. A year after that, he was invited to Hong Kong to solo on the violin with a well-established medical orchestra. This led to other violin solo performances with orchestras in Taipei and Macau. This trip to Asia was a “tour” that took approximately two months. After that trip, he was eager to return to his world as a doctor. Another highlight is a write-up in Strings Magazine. I still remember reading that magazine from cover to cover as a child, and now I get to be on the inside of the back cover! He is now dabbling in piano.